The general consensus is that certain foods are considered “healthy,” some are “unhealthy,” and others are to be eaten in moderation. As is expected, many of these beliefs are extremely varied, even among experts and nutritionists.
Many foods exist that are deemed healthy by the public even though they are deemed unhealthy by many nutritionists, according to Kevin Quealy of the New York Times. For example, granola bars, which are labelled as a healthy snack, are not quite healthy according to the words of experts. Similarly, coconut oil and frozen yogurt are not healthy, even if they are healthier than the alternatives.
“People are under the illusion that these ‘healthy’ snacks are good for them, and so they keep eating them and believing they are staying healthy,” said Hart High School junior Jonathan Moon when asked by JSR. “Although they are healthier than bad snacks, they still should be seen for what they are.”
On the flip side of the scale, there are a few foods that are considered healthy by experts, which most of the public does not agree on. According to a survey conducted by the New York Times, wine, hummus, and tofu fall under that category.
“In my opinion, wine really just consists of a lot of empty calories. So it’s really fattening,” Moon said.
Contrary to that belief, however, wine in moderation is shown to reduce risk of infection, build better bones, and preserve memory, according to Debra Gordon of health.com.
One possible reason for the rather large discrepancy between expert and public beliefs is that older studies provide information that is the opposite of newer studies. The public is therefore not fully caught up on the more recent news.
But there still remains foods that perplex both the public and the nutritionists, including milk, cheddar cheese, and steak. These foods are rather high in fat levels, and while a large amount of fat is detrimental, consuming a diet completely deprived of fat is also not beneficial.
The question, however, is whether experts, or their studies, are one hundred percent reliable. Many scientific studies have come under fire, leaving the public a tad bit more skeptical about new “facts” that come from simple correlations.
“Even though scientific studies should be viewed skeptically, I think experts should be trusted, in general,” said Moon. “They work hard on specific areas of study and probably know more than most people.”
As it seems, the “best” and “healthiest” diet would be to consume foods that are widely considered healthy by most everyone, such as fruits, vegetables, chicken, and baked potatoes, and to eat unhealthy foods in moderation.